Nannyberry - Sheepberry
Adoxaceae (Adoxa) Family (formerly honeysuckle)
Sweet Viburnum is a small tree or large shrub that is native to the northeastern and midwestern United States, but is widely used in the southern United States as a landscape shrub. While it has naturalized in this region, it is known to escape as birds and wildlife have a taste for the fruit. Generally the plant has a short trunk, round-topped head and flexible branches, ideal as a landscape shrub.
The leaves emerge pale green and are covered with rusty down at first, later becoming dark reddish brown; smooth, tough, flexible and produces an offensive odor when crushed or bruised. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on the twig; oval and 2 - 4 inches long and 2 inches broad, wedge-shaped, rounded at the base; a short pointed tip and finely serrated margin.
The flowers are small, with five whitish petals, arranged in large round terminal cymes, emerging in late spring. The calyx is tubular, equally five-toothed. The corolla is equally five-lobed, imbricate in the bud, cream-white, one-quarter of an inch across; lobes acute, and slightly erose. There are five stamens, inserted on the base of the corolla. The filaments are slender; anthers bright yellow. The pistil has a 1-celled inferior ovary; style thick; broad stigma; one ovule in each cell.
Fruit is a small round blue-black drupe; thick skinned, sweet, juicy and edible.
The plant is one of the largest of the Viburnums. It is admired for its compact habit, its lustrous foliage which insects rarely disfigure, its beautiful and abundant flowers, its handsome edible fruit and its brilliant autumnal color. It readily adapts itself to cultivation, and is one of the best of the small trees of eastern America for the decoration of parks and gardens in all regions of extreme winter cold. It is easily raised from seeds which, like those of the other American species, do not germinate until the second year after they are planted.